Polymer Clad Fiber(PCF) is a polymer-coated silica fiber consisting of the core glass sheathed by a hard polymer. The core glass of the PCF fiber is made of fused silica or silicon dioxide and the cladding is made of plastic.
The core glass of the hybrid optical fiber ranges in diameter from 200 µm to 900 µm and the optical polymer cladding is generally 50 µm larger. The flame-retardant cable jacket surrounding the hybrid optical fiber is made of polyvinyl chloride( PVC) or Tefzel(ETFE) and can be installed indoors or outdoors.
The hybrid optical fiber has a step- index profile and operates at wavelengths between 750 nm and 650 nm. The attenuation is less than 10 dB/km, and the bandwidth length product is 20 MHz x km. The numerical aperture is 0.37, and the attenuation is much lower compared to polymer fiber. The bandwidth length product is between 10 MHz x 100 m to 20 MHz x 100 m. The PCF fiber can be used in the temperature range between -40 °C and +200 °C and is suitable for automotive applications. Other areas of application include industrial use, medical technology and sensor technology. The connector used is the HFBR connector according to the HP standard.
There are various other designations for hybrid optical fibers, such as Polymer Clad Silica( PCS), Hard Clad Silica( HCS), Plastic Clad Fiber (PCF), Plastic Clad Silica (PCS), Hard Clad Silica Fiber (HCSF) and Hard Polymer Clad Fiber ( HPCF).